Just a few years ago, it was thought that only Volkswagen could challenge Tesla's leadership in electric car sales. But since 2022, BYD has been giving the American company a fright. The Chinese manufacturer has a very high growth rate, higher than that of Tesla, and the two groups are now very close.

In fact, BYD had already overtaken Tesla in the fourth quarter of 2023, but Elon Musk and co. had kept the crown by adding up what they had sold over the year as a whole. What will happen in 2024? Let's take a closer look.

A different kind of growth

Tesla had a lacklustre first quarter in 2024, but in the second quarter, according to recently published data, it regained ground and returned to growth, even exceeding Wall Street's expectations. BYD, for its part, did almost the same, but fell slightly short.

Tesla Model Y Juniper

Rendering of the new Tesla Model Y Juniper

Between April and June, sales of electric cars totalled 443,956 for Tesla and 426,039 for BYD. Although BYD still has some catching up to do, analysts believe that by the end of the year, the Chinese brand will be in first place.

Looking at the figures for the start of the year, Tesla delivered 813,739 units, while BYD delivered 726,153. Compared with the same period in 2023, the changes are respectively -9% (Tesla delivered almost 890,000 cars last year) and +18% (BYD delivered just under 600,000).

  • Tesla : 813,739 cars sold in the first six months of 2024 (-9% compared with 2023)
  • BYD : 726,153 cars sold in the first six months of 2024 (+18% compared with 2023).
BYD Ocean M Concept

BYD Ocean M Concept: an affordable electric car that will also be sold in Europe

China, increasingly the leader

Compared with the first quarter of this year, growth was 19% for the American company and 42% for the Chinese company. It is precisely this different pace of expansion, fuelled by the fact that BYD has a more articulate range that also includes affordable models, that has many analysts, including those at Counterpoint, who have just published a report on the subject, thinking that we will see an overtake.

 
Cars sold Q1 2024

Cars sold Q2 2024

Growth rate
Tesla 369,783 443,956 +19%
BYD 300,114 426,039 +42%

There is a second reason. China (where BYD is obviously well established) remains the leading market for electric cars. It will help all the Chinese brands to grow, because as of this year, BEV sales there will be four times higher than in North America. In the future, the Land of the Dragon will have a 50% market share (by 2027) and will overtake Europe and North America combined before the end of the decade.

Gallery: BYD Seal U 2024 Road Test